To start the interview, could you please tell us a little bit more about your background and explain us the reasons why you came to work on the Scala project ?
Most of us came to the project because we love open source software and our vision for a cryptocurrency was way too different from others that came before us, we really wanted to tackle the UX problems which others didn’t really pay attention to.
We spend a lot of time working on the design for each of our apps and try to improve the user-friendliness of it. We really want to democratize the use of crypto around the world to fulfill our vision of distributing wealth for all devices.
Most of our team members have a strong technical background and come from the IT world. We also have a good vision of blockchain, economics, and project management, which gives us many tools when the need arises to face new challenges.
Can you explain the story of Scala (Stellite/Torque), from its creation until now?
Our name was « Stellite » at our inception back in January 2018, some of you may have heard about us at this time. We have always been focused on mobile-friendly PoW algorithms and app development. In January 2018 we started with a 0.6% premine that allowed us to start building the foundation of our project and pay for exchange listing and some basic expenses.
We had great support from the community at this time. Unfortunately, we received a lawsuit in 2019 because the name « Stellite » is copyrighted by Kennametal. We didn’t have a choice but to choose a new name in a hurry, so we rebranded to « Torque ». It was not a chain swap, just a name change. Since we were not really happy with the name « Torque », we decided to rebrand one last time to « Scala » with the release of Himalaya, the v6 version of our chain that allowed us to bring our mobile-friendly ecosystem to reality.
This rebrand was also not a chain swap, just a change of name. Unfortunately, we had some sync issues with our v6 chain, so we decided to perform a swap to a new chain, called Panthera (v7), and also develop our own light version of Delayed-Proof-of-Work (LdPoW). We conducted the swap on July 31, 2020, with our exchanges, and provided a Swap Tool for the users that were not able to swap before this deadline. This tool is still up-and-running: https://medium.com/scala-network/scala-swap-tool-instructions-e6c7248c0ab4. During the last months, we brought a lot more stability to our team, which allows us to focus on developing our application ecosystems and fulfill our vision.
What are Scala’s key features?
We inherit almost all of Monero’s privacy features, on top of this, we have worked on improving the user experience by working on things like an easy-to-use GUI miner, a wallet web client, and a mobile miner and wallet. We’re also working on some other utilities based on Web3 technologies such as Webtorrent and IPFS.
We have decided to move away from a capped supply to an infinite supply with a tail emission similar to Monero. The rewards will no longer have erosion but will drop by a certain percentage at certain block heights.
We have also implemented our own version of Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) that we called Light Delayed Proof of Work (LdPoW) and that is the backbone of our network security.
Essentially with dPoW, you checkpoint the daemons blocks onto another stronger chain (like Bitcoin). However, we didn’t want to “bloat” Bitcoin because we all in the team love Bitcoin and thought that dPoW was just too pollutive towards other networks. We then agreed that the idea of locking a lock with another lock is not the smartest idea, because if one lock becomes weaker than the other, it can create new vulnerabilities. Deriving from the ideas of dPoW we figured we could probably do better. So we got to work on our own version of dPoW which doesn’t use any other blockchain. Instead, our variant (light dPoW) uses the same database as that of our own blockchain. This is made possible by a system utilizing the Lightning Memory-Mapped Database Manager (LMDB).
We are one of the first projects in the world – if not the only one! – to use IPFS in a way that impacts the actual consensus of the #blockchain, providing an additional layer of security against threats such as 51% attacks.
You have developed a specific mining algorithm for ARM CPU architecture. Can you tell us about Panthera and AMAYC?
Panthera, our proof-of-work algorithm, implements a modified version of RandomX + yespower + KangarooTwelve, which provides resistance against specialized hardware and even GPUs.
Our algorithm is able to run on any CPU regardless of architecture, but it performs exceptionally well on ARM processors in comparison to Intel/AMD, keeping power efficiency as a factor. For instance one of our team members 2018 model Xeon Silver can do only around 3Kh/s whereas a mid-range smartphone might be able to do 1/3rd of that with much less power.
AMAYC stands for “As-Much-As-You-Can”. It is our own customized temperature calculation algorithm that uses pretty novel Machine Learning functions to keep phones mining in safe temperatures.
You can download our mobile mining application here: http://mobileminer.scalaproject.io/
Can we mine with our cell phone today? what will be the profitability and is there a difference depending on the smartphone model?
Yes, you can mine on Android phones today by installing our Scala Miner application. The profitability in USD might not be much but you get around 500-600 XLAs per day with a mid-range smartphone that costs around 300 USD. We’ve noticed that the newer flagships and mid-range phones perform very similarly, which is striking considering that the price difference between these models can be 2-3x.
You can download the app here: http://mobileminer.scalaproject.io/
What are your next development ideas to improve Scala?
We’re currently working on 3 main things as part of our utility and application suites.
The first one being the content delivery network (CDN) powered by IPFS and WebTorrent. We’ve always been big fans of distributed data storage in the team, we believe we could implement a novel CDN that uses the aforementioned utilities to build something that can be stable, fast, and secure, we’ll begin work on the CDN after LdPoWv2 and associated hardfork is done.
The second one being LdPoW which can provide off-chain security to our blockchain and possibly others. The LdPoW network is essentially a bunch of computers talking to each other and voting for the best chain by assessing them on the public network, this, in theory, can be done for any blockchain without needing to be a part of another blockchain.
The third one would be a semi-custodial light wallet for Cryptonote based coins as the scene right now is pretty grim as far as usability for Monero based coins go. This is a moonshot idea we had which was to make something that can be as light as electrum but also not sacrifice on speed, this is in its idea phase right now more progress to be made down the line.
How does the team is organized today (nb of people, tasks repartition etc…)?
Our team is not very big, but we are all very dedicated and committed to see Scala fulfill its vision. We have plans for aggressive expansion, we are very well organized and talk to each other almost every day. Every team member has a more specific role within the project (administration, network, applications, communications), but we also work on many different tasks depending on the needs. We have recently released our Trello board soon so that the community can take a look at what we are working on. You can access it here: https://trello.com/b/75gslMVo/scala-official
The economic model of encryption projects generates a lot of discussion and debate in the encryption community (ICO, premine, developer taxes, masternode governance, community project). How have you financed the project so far and what are the solutions for the future?
After overcoming problems we had with our short 0.6% premine when we first started (Stellite), V7 will have officially addressed everything that we initially had set out to finish in our whitepaper and more. Unfortunately following this development, we quickly have run out of funds to continue forward.
Luckily in the past, we were able to push on with the help of a handful of very dedicated and brilliant programmers and designers. But sadly it has been hard to keep up with everything, we’re struggling to pay for seemingly simple things like web servers, build servers, DNS charges, etc. This is disregarding the countless hours of work our team has put forward for the development of the project.
We have tried donations and other schemes, but as soon as the first and second months are over, it inevitably dies out with no one to blame. We would also like to hire freelancers to help us bring more products onto the table (like a mobile wallet), but this is currently not possible for us.
With all of this in mind, we have decided to set aside around 3 years’ worth of PoW rewards for the development and progression of the project for the next 5 to 6 years, which is around 3.8B coins.
The majority of these coins will be stored in cold storage with trusted nominees selected from the core team. The view keys of associated wallets have been given to the community to assess the movement of the coins.
The coins will be allotted in such a way that incentivizes developers and the community to come up with new and bright ideas and to help implement the ones that we already have, such as a complete ground-up built mobile wallet and new applications that are built upon the Scala blockchain, like a network of storage devices. Any community member will be able to propose an idea and if there is support seen for the said idea they can be allocated funds for working on it with milestones.
Security is important in cryptocurrencies, especially for consensus proof of work where altcoins often have less security. Is Scala secured against attacks on the network? Are you working on solutions to improve this security?
Yes, we’re continuously trying to improve the speed and efficiency of the network. Security is a very big issue in most coins right now, this is one of the reasons why we’ve implemented a novel solution to bring 51% resistance to the network called LdPoW. It’s currently live on testnet and should be released to mainnet in the next few weeks.
What are the plans and objectives of Scala for 2021 ?
We have many great projects in the pipeline, mostly LdPoW, CDN, and the semi-custodial wallet. Those projects will create a lot of business value and will allow us to really stand out and provide solutions to real problems.
We also want to focus more on reaching out to our community and growing our user base. This is why we have increased our social media presence lately and are always trying to grow our outreach by improving our communications strategy.
We are currently in the process of incorporating the project as a non-profit entity so that we can work more freely on disruptive projects without being worried about legal stuff. Obviously, we also want to get listed on more exchanges in the near future, as part of our expansion plan.
Have you planned another governance in the future, like Dash or Decred? What will be the role of the community in the future?
We are currently working on our Community Contribution System (CCS) that will give the community an available freelance-style work solution using and building blockchain technology. We’d like to incorporate our blockchain voting system into the CCS, and the community can use the voting system to choose which projects they want the Scala platform to work on next.
Independent projects will have an opportunity to submit their content for public review by the Scala collective. Scala community members will then have an opportunity to vote on projects to show support for the cause, as well as vote for network officials. Elected projects will earn an annual dedicated community project budget which the Scala project core team will put funding towards.
What is the goal of Scala? What are your strategic directions?
Our first goal is to keep privacy as a priority in everything we do. This is why we forked from Monero in the first place and provide an opaque blockchain: untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions, and blockchain-analysis resistance.
Furthermore, our vision is to distribute wealth for everyone and every device. We want to be the people’s coin. To achieve this goal, we focus on implementing solutions that are mobile-friendly and very energy efficient. There are about 4 billion mobile devices in the world, and we want to make sure that our ecosystem takes that into account. We also take a lot of time to improve the user experience so that our applications can be used easily by anyone.
Obviously, our goal is also to bring useful utilities and to solve real-world problems, in a way that is economically viable for the project and to sustain our growth.
In everything we do, we focus on the long-term for our project. We prefer creating value rather than worrying about “hyping” or “shilling” our coin only to increase price in the very short term. This being said, we do care about our market value and we work hard to increase the valuation of our project. (Trello: https://trello.com/b/75gslMVo/scala-official)
If you were to compare yourself with other altcoins, which ones are closest to Scala’s intentions?
It’s a really hard question to answer really, there are some amazing coins out there like XMR, BTC, ETH, but we feel like none of them really took UX/UI seriously. It’s like it was created for engineers by engineers. We believe we have a unique approach to Blockchain by combining privacy, UX, mobile-friendliness, decentralization, and security into one globally scalable ecosystem.
Why is Scala is superior/different to/from its competitors?
Many other projects have claimed to provide mobile mining applications, but most of them are actually airdropping coins to their users through a cloud-based application, without having the user’s device physically mining. We believe proof-of-work is an important part of our blockchain consensus and it should be made available to all those who want to play a role within our project and who share our vision.
We have also implemented a pretty disruptive way of securing our blockchain by using innovative IPFS technologies.
Which projects do you like the most in cryptos? why ?
Obviously, we love Monero as we share the same core values, and they have a wonderful community as well as have some really cool technology. We also love Bitcoin as none of this would have happened if Satoshi didn’t publish his first whitepaper back in 2008! We respect and encourage all other crypto projects because we believe that there is a place for everyone to bring new ideas and solutions to improve the world around us.